Revelation 10:1 through chapter 11:14 is an interlude between the sixth and seventh trumpets as in the case of the seals back in chapter 7. “I saw another mighty angel coming down out of heaven,…” – many have asserted that this mighty angel is much like the angel back in chapter 5:2. But it said “another mighty angel” – there are several mighty angels listed: 5:2; here in 10:1; and in 18:21. Now because of the description that follows which is going to be description taken from “a God and Christ”, many have said this is Christ. But i don’t think it can be Christ because he’s an angel; because there are other mighty angels listed; because he swears by God in verse 6; and because the angel in Daniel chapter 10 was also dressed like God. So i think we’re talking about an angel here and not Christ. Now “…coming down out of heaven, clothed with a cloud;…” – from Psalms 97 to Psalms 104, and Daniel 7:13, and Acts 1:9, we know that clouds are the transportation of deity. So this is a very powerful angel, some say this angel stands for Christ, and Christ’s Word, and Christ’s victory. Well I can certainly buy that, because this is one humdinger of an angel for all you know. And then “…with a rainbow over his head…” – of course the rainbow speaks I think of the covenant promises, and mercy, and fidelity of God going back of course to Noah. I think it was used in chapter 4:3 for the throne of God, and there may be a direct allusion here to Ezekiel 1:28. “…and his face was like the sun,…” – that goes back to revelation 1:16 in description of Christ. “…and His legs were like pillar of fire” – this goes back to Revelation 1:15, again description of Christ. “He had a little book open in his hand…” – the question is, what little book is this? It’s the same book of chapter 5:1. That now all the seals are open and you can read it, it is more like an allusion to Ezekiel 2:8, and 3:3 about a little book that Ezekiel had to eat that was sweet to his mouth but bitter to his stomach. It was the judgment of god on the nation Israel. I think that’s the allusion he’s pulling from in this “little book”. “He placed his right foot on the sea and his left on the land;” – a pretty tall angel, matter of fact. The rabbi’s said that there was one angel so tall that it was taller than a 500 day’s journey over all the other angels. His name is Sandalphon. We got a big angel here; the clouds are around his head and his feet are on both land and the sea, i think, perhaps to show the universality of the message. Maybe the powerfulness of the idea of the Word of God here. We just can’t be sure exactly why. “and he cried out with a loud voice, as when a lion roars;…” – the word here really is the mooing of oxen but it’s used in a sense of a roaring of a lion. Maybe a melodious voice here, and of course there are many aspects of the Old Testament talking about God as ‘roaring as a lion (cf. Jeremiah 25:30; Hosea 11:10; Amos 3:8; and Joel 3:16). So this angel is close, not only in majesty but in the titles of God and Christ in other places. So it is a powerful, powerful angel.
Notice where it mentions, “and when he had cried out, the seven peals of thunder uttered their voices.” – these seven thunders somehow are connected to the seven seals and seven trumpets. I think they really are. But when John hears them, he tries to write them down and he’s told not to, but to seal them up. Now it seems to me if you take the rest of this, particularly the oath that the angel is going to say in verses five, and six, and seven, particularly five and six. It’s the idea that there’s no more delay. God has worked with these rebellious inhabitants of the earth. They have refused to repent, and now God’s going to give them another series of woes to try to bring them to Himself. But final judgment is coming, and that’s why I think the seven thunders were another series of woes like the seals. Like the trumpets were meant to bring man to repentance. But because of sinful man’s hard-heartedness God said, “no the end is now”, and that’s what I think we have here. Now the idea about the seven thunders -some take this from Psalms 29:3ff, it may be an allusion to that. Notice as it says, “I was going to write it down, but I heard a voice from heaven saying, seal it up…” – this comes back to the Book of Daniel 8:26, and Daniel 12:4 & 9. Some try to relate this to Paul’s vision of heaven in 2nd Cor. 12:1-4, but I think that’s reading much too into it. Paul couldn’t reveal it because it was so magnificent. It seems like the John can’t reveal it because it’s not going to happen now.
THE ANGEL’S OATH
Notice in verse 5, this angel takes an oath and he “…raises up his right hand to heaven,” – this is a symbol of oath-taking, and throughout the Bible, it’s found in numerous passages like Genesis 14:22; Exodus 6:8; Numbers 14:32; Ezekiel 20:15 & 28; Daniel 12:7 and some other places where this kind allusion is made to us. Notice, he’s swearing to God “…who lives forever and ever,…”. That’s the title for Yahweh (the covenant Name for God) who created the heavens and the earth. So here is a God as Redeemer and God as Creator. Redeemer and Creator, these same titles go together, you might want to see back in chapter 4 verse 9 & 10 where the title “…who lives forever and ever, and God as Creator in verse 11. Here they are together again. Notice as it mentions, “There will be no more delay!…” – King James has “…no more time.” and the word here is ‘chronos’. But since time has something of a philosophical context, this seems to be not that time has ended and eternity has started. Although i think that’s true, i think it’s more of “there will be no more delays”; there will be no more time for men to repent, and that’s what i think the seven trumpets are all about. “But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet,…” – notice the 7th trumpet has not yet been blown, there’s an interlude in chapter 10 and part of chapter 11, and there is a mention God’s mysterious message. What could be God’s mysterious message? It could be several things. I think Daniel is the primary background to which John is drawing. In Daniel chapter 2:29-30, the mystery of God’s future acts in history are called the ‘mystery’, or ‘secret’ if you please. But i’m already pulled to think this is the church, and i think it’s the Gospel message. I’m pulled to Ephesians 2 and 3 where the ‘mystery of God’ is the Jew and Gentile now being included in one unity in Christ. I think the mystery of the Gospel is that Jews and Gentiles have been made one in Jesus. You might want to see Romans 16:25-26, where both Jews and Gentiles seem to be included together in God’s future events. And all men have to come through Christ, and enter into one new body, which is to say the Church.
THE LITTLE BOOK
Notice as it says in verse 8, “Then the voice which I heard from heaven, I heard again speaking with me,…” – whose voice is this? Well, in chapter 11:1 this same voice is going to speak, and so we cannot be 100% sure if it is God’s, if it is Jesus’, or is it an angel’s. And he said, “Go, take the book which is open in the hand of the angel who stands on the sea and on the land. So I went to the angel, telling him to give me the little book…” – the command was very authoritative to take the book which is said to be open, which means the revelation is not hidden. “And he *said to me, “Take it and eat it; it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey.” – this has to be allusion back to Ezekiel 2:8 and you need to see Jeremiah chapters 15, 16, and 17 foir a possible allusion to this. It’s the gospel message; it warms the heart, but there’s an element of judgment to it. I think that’s the idea here. Some say the phrase “sweet as honey” goes back to Psalms 19:10-11 or Psalms 119:103-104. It maybe John’s drawing allusions from all over the Old Testament, but using them in different ways than their Old Testament setting. So “I took the little book out of the angel’s hand and ate it,…” – It’s the idea of John internalizing the message, that’s the inference here. Look at verse 11, it says, “And they said to me,…” – who are this “they”? Why is it plural? Is it several angels? Is it the Trinitarian God? We’re just not sure. “You must prophesy again…” – the “must” here is the idea of moral necessity. There’s got to be more revelation “concerning many peoples and nations and tongues and kings.” – this phrase with a slight variety is mentioned numerous times in Revelation 5:9; 7:9; 10:11; 11:9; 13:7; 14:6; 17:15. God is working with all men. That’s always been His thrust. The anti-Christ is going to pull away all men from God. God wants all men to know Him, and the anti-Christ wants to prevent all men from knowing God. The Gospel is concerned not with any one group of people, be it church, nation, or empire, but with all of fallen humanity. I think that’s the idea here.